Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center


Research at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center focuses on providing the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources occurring in Hawai'i and other Pacific island locations.

Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

Learn more about how researchers are tracking how rare plants are responding to changing environmental conditions.

Plant Responses

Featured Scientist

Featured Scientist

PIERC Microbiologist Dr. Carter Atkinson is using new tools to detect emerging threats and rare species in Pacific Island ecosystems.

Atkinson Research


Date published: July 9, 2020

New Study Finds the Restoration of Forests with Active Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Infections May Be Possible

Hilo, Hawaiʻi – For the first time, researchers have shown that native ʻōhiʻa seedlings can survive for at least a year in areas that have active mortality from Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, or ROD, a fungal disease that is devastating to this dominant and culturally important tree in Hawaiian forests. This information can be useful to land managers and homeowners as they prioritize conservation actions.

Date published: June 8, 2018

Keeping Track of "Caly"

Caly isn't likely to wonder off off, but with a remote camera and monitoring station online 24-hours a day, USGS and partners at the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, University of Hawai‘i, and the USFWS can learn how an extremely rare plant is responding to changes in environmental conditions.


Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Survival of Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis differs among island populations: Role of chronic avian botulism

Monitoring demographic response over time is valuable for understanding population dynamics of endangered species. We quantified the variation in survival patterns for three small isolated island populations of endangered waterfowl in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis were individually marked and the fate of 1,150...

Reynolds, Michelle H; Hatfield, Jeffrey; Courtot, Karen; Vanderlip, Cynthia

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

2018 Kaua'i forest bird population estimates and trends

Kaua‘i's native forest birds have experienced steep declines since the beginning of systematic surveys in 1981, and declines have accelerated in recent decades. This report details the analysis of the most recent surveys conducted in 2018. Incorporating the new survey results, long-term trends continue to show sharp declines for all native...

Paxton, Eben H.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Crampton, Lisa H.; Hite, Justin; Costantini, Maria
Paxton, E. H., K. W. Brinck, L. H. Crampton, J. Hite, and M. Costantini. 2020. 2018 Kaua'i forest bird population estimates and trends. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR096, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Available:

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2020

Decontamination of Ceratocystis pathogens responsible for rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

Rapid ʻōhiʻa death (ROD) is caused by two recently described species of Ceratocystis, C. lukuohia and C. huliohia. These fungi are decimating ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), the keystone native tree species of Hawaiʻi. Viable Ceratocystis propagules can persist in ambrosia beetle frass (Coleoptera:...

Roy, Kylle; Jaenecke, Kelly; Bjontegard, Nikko; Mikros, Dan; Dunkle, Ellen; Yanger, Corie; Sugiyama, Lionel S.; Keith, Lisa M.; Peck, Robert W